Multiple Democratic lawmakers are endorsing policies to minimize Israel’s ability to fight back against attackers.
On May 5, the Biden administration notified Congress that it was approving a $735 million arms sale to Israel, according to The Washington Post. That was five days before Hamas began sending what has since become more than 4,000 rockets into Israel, triggering Israeli retaliatory strikes on Gaza. That formal notification triggered a 15-day period for Congress to object.
“At a moment when U.S.-made bombs are devastating Gaza, and killing women and children, we cannot simply let another huge arms sale go through without even a congressional debate,” Sanders said in a statement.
“I believe that the United States must help lead the way to a peaceful and prosperous future for both Israelis and Palestinians. We need to take a hard look at whether the sale of these weapons is actually helping do that, or whether it is simply fueling conflict,” he said.
— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) May 17, 2021
“For decades, the U.S. has sold billions of dollars in weaponry to Israel without ever requiring them to respect basic Palestinian rights,” Ocasio-Cortez said in a statement. “In so doing, we have directly contributed to the death, displacement and disenfranchisement of millions.”
Democrats say they want the fighting stopped.
“The devastation in Gaza is unconscionable,” Sanders said. “We must urge an immediate ceasefire.”
“It would be appalling for the Biden Administration to go through with $735 million in precision-guided weaponry to Netanyahu without any strings attached in the wake of escalating violence and attacks on civilians,” Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota said Monday. “If this goes through this will be seen as a green light for continued escalation and will undercut any attempts at brokering a ceasefire.”
As Democrats opposed Israel, Republicans stood by the embattled nation.
“While recent transactions were not related to current events on the ground, we absolutely should do all that we can to support our ally Israel in the face of ongoing terrorist activities that threaten their security,” Republican Sen. James Risch of Idaho told The Post.
“Under no circumstance should anyone think what is happening over there is anything but Iranian-supported terrorism against Israel. My support for Israel is unwavering in the face of this terrorist activity. I am disappointed that some of my colleagues in Congress would call this enduring partnership into question,” he said.
The Biden administration approved the sale of what are known as Joint Direct Attack Munitions and Small Diameter Bombs to Israel.
Sanders’ anti-Israel resolutions could easily pass the Democrat-controlled House, and could pass in the Senate by a simple majority. However, Senate passage could be complicated if all 50 Republicans oppose the resolution. That would force Vice President Kamala Harris to cast the tie-breaking vote.
Even if the resolution passes, as did resolutions in 2019 opposing arms deals to Saudi Arabia, it would take a two-thirds majority to override a presidential veto of the resolution.
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